Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Abstraction and Distraction

The Laughing Tree

I have been watching the National Geographic series Genius. Last year it was about Einstein. This year it is about Picasso. The style of storytelling these days, whether in books or video, is to jump back and forth along the timeline. You reveal a little something in the present and then you go back in time and explain how it came about. While it does add tension and even works for the writer sometimes, I am not as in love with it to the extent that the popular culture seems to be.

I am also not a fan of contemporary and/or abstract art. Moving into the impressionist period was as far as my interest would take me. But I have always loved the work of Picasso and admired his creative and evolutionary talent for his time:  misogynist pig that he was in his personal life. In his blue period, he conveyed such a depth of misery with each painting. In his cubist period, his works invited a more intense study as they slowly revealed an edginess and a novelty and an energy in the inanimate.

His life was very complex, so I am not sure that Nat-Geo has been as accurate as it could be. It glosses over so much and leaves one wondering why and what impact something had.

The casting of Antonio Banderas as Picasso is effective. He has those dark Spanish button eyes that Picasso had.  If you study his interviews you will see that he has much the same passion and devotion and openness in his real life that Picasso had.  Banderas is an underrated actor. The Thirteenth Warrior is one of my favorite movies that he did even though it received mediocre reviews. It is moody, heavy, and slow, with a little too much blood and guts, but full of atmosphere and a wonderful musical score. He is very compelling as the warrior.  

OK, just a review of what has taken up my time, because of the days of rain, I spent too much time in front of the television, on the other hand, my house is pretty clean.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Subdued Holidays

Hoping you had a nice Mother's Day if you are a mother. I am not super comfortable with this holiday because I do have friends and relatives that lost their mother when they were very young, early teens or one in college. For those who have gone through this tragedy, it may bring up days of sweet memories and for others a deep longing for all that they missed. I will be attending the wedding of a young man that lost his mother when he was about ten. He lives on the other side of the country and I do not get to see him as much as I would like.

My daughter-in-law has recently learned that she will probably not be able to have children and her sister learned the same fate years ago.  They both married later in their lives which complicates things.  I think they have both decided not to try adoption, so it appears her parents will never have the joy of grandkids, and they are special people and would have made wonderful grandparents.

This Mother's Day, while special for many, carries baggage for me.  I had a complicated relationship with my Mother.  She was judgemental and overworked and angry much of the time.  I understand it all now but did not when I was a young girl which she burdened and guilted with chores. 

I got a call from my distant son late that evening (certainly prompted by his wife) and nothing from my busy daughter who is a very wonderful mother in her own right.  But they know I would not guilt them about their actions or inactions on this day.  We love each other with or without holidays to remind us.

Anyway, for those who have children, I hope your day was filled with attention and honor by those you worked so hard to raise.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Where Have You Been?

I am impressed (while perhaps not motivated) to find bloggers keeping up their posts in the spring season.  I am compelled and even guilted into being outside most of the time.  There is dirt under my fingernails, those that are still undamaged, and dirt between my toes and some even on my face.  The weeding is endless this time of year.  The dead zones due to winter harshness have been discovered and new perennials have to be placed in those black holes, either from the division of overgrown perennials or shopping for something new.  An entire hedge of pyracantha is looking awful as are we from pruning the deadwood and bloodily fighting the thorns. 

There is also a rather large gray rabbit who is fearless and makes me break into an aerobic run each morning across the lawn.  (I am trying to protect my sunflowers and zinnias!)  He clearly finds my gallumping in slippers mildly amusing.  Where are those two foxes when you need them?

Needless to say, this is NOT the rabbit in my yard.

My Master Gardeners group is in high gear with endless projects, plant sales, and interns to interview.  Gardeners are a distinctly high energy group in the spring.  It is as if they have been revving their engines all winter and spend time arguing about whether a plant is an invasive, a native healthy spreader or a weed before they price it.

April was also the month of birthdays (two grandsons and a daughter) and with gifts to buy there was also a girl's weekend getaway to cram into two days.  I do not use the word "girl's" loosely as both that went with me were in their 40's.  I do not consider myself a girl.  That weekend was mercurial with coolish rains, spring warming sun and fluctuating temps that required on-again off-again jackets.  The only hard plans were staying at a B&B winery/distillery which was a gift to my daughter as she could enjoy the tastings and not worry about driving as I hate the driving part of any adventure.

I learned that I am too old to taste various hard ciders at noon and then hit a free distillery tasting before dinner.  I did sip the lavender gin from my daughter's glass and the cinnamon rum! 

This was followed the next day by a visit to her favorite creamery-dairy farm where we were able to sample the ice cream, pet the cows and photograph a curious alpaca.  

Then in the afternoon was a tour of a historic mansion and talking to several weavers and admiring their work.  The next morning, we took in the antique shops on the antique row for my daughter-in-law where I bought a few gifts and two "whimsical" vases.  

This is the genre of activities that transforms the males in my life into zombies, so we were relieved to just meander and do low-pressure stuff.

Today I have lots of housework which I have ignored forever.  So where have you been while I was away?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

An Opportunity for You to Express Yourself

One spring somewhere in Utah.

My days are so full of gardening and planning a weekend get-away with my daughter and daughter-in-law to celebrate their two birthdays, that I hardly have time to slow down and blog.  So, I am going to use a "writing prompt" to get some creative juices flowing and also offer you an opportunity to participate in the comments below. Come on...take a chance.  If you want to write a longer response...just invite us on over to your blog.

Here is the challenge:

"In this world when you turn 18 you are sent an envelope with the name of one person on the planet that you must meet and get to know. Who is your person? How do you meet? What happens next?"

Since the list of those I might want to meet is so long I am going to qualify the challenge and say they must be living today.

I narrowed my consideration further by including women only for consideration since men have had all the breaks for hundreds of years in history.

I want someone not too quippy because I am 18 and going to pick their brain on important decisions in life and mistakes they have learned from. I will ask the most important thing they have learned. I will ask the most important relationships that they have made in their lives. I will ask what they say "no" to on many days. I will ask them about their most important success. I will ask them what they wish they could do over. I will ask them about their relationship with a higher being or what they use for spiritual guidance. I will ask if they think one can be successful in love and what are the keys to that. I will ask them what second career might they wish they could have followed.  I will ask them what keeps them centered on their most difficult days.

How do we meet?  Well, maybe I win some contest.  We would meet on a hike to a mountain lodge or a walk to a cabin on a lake. NO one else, just the two of us stuck together for most of the day.

What happens next?   This would be a challenge for me to try and apply some of what I learned to my own future career, marriage, and decisions on life in general. I would also hope we could keep in touch over the years ahead.

Oh,  you want to know who I selected?  Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  No special reason as there were many authors, journalists, political leaders that I could have considered, and since she has her own exercise program I am guessing we could handle that gentle mountain walk.  Perhaps a spring walk in Utah?

Now, your turn...if you like.

Friday, April 20, 2018

One Word Summary?

The last few days, if you follow our President,  you will have heard news about about peeing, prostitutes in an industry in which Russia seems to have the most beautiful if you listen to misogynist pigs such as Putin, and almost everything else being fake news  and witch hunts (notice how everything bad is either dark or female?). But, if you follow the real news you will learn a First Lady has died. She did not get enough credit when alive, and while I disagreed with her politics, she was an honest and strong person and loyal to family. She lost a small child when she was young, was a military wife with all of the sacrifices that entailed, took on the thankless role of First Lady, listened to others say awful things about her sons who ran for office, and while a white privileged mother, still paid her dues.  I have heard several times in the news that she was known as the "Enforcer."

This got me thinking about my life.  What if I died this year?  Would there be one word that came to the mind of those that knew me?  I was hoping it would be "loyal",  but it could be "loudmouthed,"  or "uncommunicative" or "over-organized"  or "opinionated" or possibly "emotional." 

What would be the word that you think you should be remembered by and is that the same word that others would use?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Curiouser and Curiouser

"I needed to compose you one little bit of observation to be able to give thanks again for those striking strategies you've shared above. It was certainly pretty open-handed of you to offer publicly exactly what most people might have marketed as an electronic book to make some profit for themselves, even more so considering that you could have tried it if you ever considered necessary. The secrets in addition acted like a good way to comprehend the rest have similar zeal like my very own to realize significantly more with regard to this issue. I'm certain there are thousands of more fun moments ahead for those who find out your site. holiday ideas on." (This was followed by a link to the blog.)

I allow immediate comments on this blog because I  usually am able to read them at that time.  After a week I have set my blog to prevent comments from being  published until I give approval as this is usually the time a "bot" or spam blogger posts something in the comments section.  

This comment in quotes above was left on one of  my posts.  One would think "they" could write some routine post that at least makes enough sense to  make me curious to go to the link they add to  their blog.  This must have been written by a computer.  Strange....

Thursday, April 12, 2018

I Knew That Already

I use Facebook more than many people do, but I do not judge those who will have nothing to do with this social networking site,  like my husband. I like to keep in touch with friends who live hundreds of miles away. I am somewhat restrictive in my criteria for accepting FB friends and I have written about that before. I usually like to at least have met the person. I have made a few exceptions. In one case the person and I grew close through blogs and the person also had a terrible illness which at least restricted travel on their part. We were probably destined never to meet in real life. In another instance, one of my close relatives was going through a difficult time and one of her colleagues asked to become my friend on FB. I accepted that just to be able to see how my close relative might be doing from another's perspective without actually discussing it! 

I know exactly how many friends I have on FB.  I keep it as close to 100 as I can.  I have very few FB friends here in my community, but I do have a few.  I am very political on FB.

I have not answered friend requests from a few co-workers that I did not become close to when we worked together or that I thought were not generally "nice" people. My judgment---my call, and I am sure others might just judge me the same way.

I have lost only one friend over the decade or so and this was a distant relative who could not stand my political postings.  He 'unfriended' me.  It was sad because he would post "photos" of the "rape" of the Ambassador in the Benghazi debacle and other questionable links.  The photos were not true and violent and fed his conservative fire, and I never pointed out that sources are essential when attempting to post facts.  I let him post what he wanted.  He was young, an ex-marine and a gun-lover.  He had lots of problems with romance in his life, lost his access to his toddler daughter due to his anger, and this was and is sad.  We had a few attempts at face-to-face conversations on his goals and direction in life, but you cannot change the spots on some leopards.  He had been a great marine, which is a structure many people need and his life stalled a little after he left.

Now to the title.  I know that the 'world' knows all of this about me.  I have taken a few of those quizzes, so they know my exercise, food, personality, travel preferences, and my habits and my spending profile.  I did not take many because I realized this data was being compiled elsewhere.  ( I was not smart enough to think about the Russians, but I did think about Pakistan and ID theft.)

I downloaded my FB archive today and it is a surprising history walk, because we do forget the intimate conversations we might have with others.  I am glad that at least others are aware of this.  Elders have less to lose in terms of information compromised, but just as much to lose in terms of ID theft.  

If you have bought anything on the Internet outside of FB, they also have your data.  I have been informed by Target, Office of Management and Budget, Experian, and some others that my data has been stolen which is more than a credit card number.  So let us all blame that shy, awkward nerd, Zuckerberg and ignore all those millionaire CEO's that are storing their money overseas while selling out data to others or at the very least being lazy in keeping it safe.